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  • Youth Served at Lausanne 2020


    (ATR) Empowering, inspiring and engaging youth remains the predominant mission of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games, now less than one month away.
    Virginie Faivre with IOC president Thomas Bach & YOG mascot Yodli (Lausanne 2020)

    Final preparations appear on track as the Olympic Capital, and nearby resorts in the Vaud Mountains, across the border in France and in St. Moritz, make final preparations to host some of the best teen-aged skiers, snowboarders, skaters and sliders from more than 70 countries.

    “These Games have been more than three years in the making and now with only one month to go until the Opening Ceremony, we can feel the excitement around us,” Lausanne 2020 president Virginie Faivre tells Around the Rings.

    “Most of the work has now been done but, of course, some details still need to be fine-tuned. Everything is going according to plan and we are confident that everything will be ready to welcome the athletes, their delegations and the public in January,” said Faivre.

    Faivre adds that the “organizing committee is working day and night to ensure that these Games leave a great legacy.”

    Faivre, a three-time freeski halfpipe world champion and Lausanne native, assumed the leadership role with the organizing committee in January 2019. She succeeded IOC member Patrick Baumann, who died suddenly while attending the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in October 2018.

    The third edition of the Winter YOG is not only being catered towards the nearly 1,880 athletes between the ages of 15 and 18 who will compete for medals on Switzerland’s ice and slopes but all of the country’s youth, who Lausanne 2020 organizers emphasize are involved in all facets of the multi-sport event that runs from Jan. 9-22.

    “It is simply magnificent to see the Youth Olympic Games come to life thanks to the young people of our region,” Faivre says. “Since the beginning of the Lausanne 2020 adventure, over 130,000 students have been involved in the organization of the Games – Games created for the youth, by the youth and with the youth.

    “Lausanne 2020’s mission is to empower the youth by spreading a message of possibility and positivity.”

    The Lausanne 2020 motto is “Start now”.

    “With our motto, we want to encourage young people around the world to pursue their dreams and to know that now is the moment to shine,” said the Swiss OC leader.

    Tickets and Events

    Freestyle skier competes in the halfpipe at the FIS Junior World Championships in Leysin. (Lausanne 2020/Bob Martin)
    The indoor opening ceremony will be held at Lausanne’s recently opened Vaudoise Arena, which will also house ice hockey, figure skating and short track events. Medal ceremonies are in Lausanne’s downtown district of Le Flon.

    Lausanne 2020 CEO Ian Logan informs that tickets for the opening ceremony have all been sold.

    “The price for tickets is not expensive compared to concerts or other events in Switzerland,” Logan said of the three-tiered prices for the Jan. 9 opening of the Winter YOG. “It is very competitive – we had mostly 59 or 79 and just a few at 99 [Swiss Francs].”

    According to Logan, figure skating and short track events are nearly at full capacity. Tickets are not required for events at any of the outdoor mountain venues.

    The Lausanne 2020 sport program consists of eight sports, 16 disciplines and 81 medal events, with a perfect balance of 33 events for each gender, along with 15 mixed events.

    New events and discipline include ski mountaineering, 3x3 hockey and women’s Nordic combined and doubles luge.

    Sliding events will be contested on the opposite side of Switzerland in St. Moritz, some 245 kilometers east, at its venerable, natural bobsleigh track. Speed skating events will be held outdoors on the luxurious Swiss resort’s frozen lake.

    Ski jumping, Nordic combined and biathlon events will be in the Jura Mountains just across the border in neighboring France.

    Aerial view of Les Diablerets, venue for Alpine competitions at Lausanne 2020. (Lausanne 2020/Bob Martin)
    Alpine skiing, freestyle skiing and snowboard events will be spread across three mountain resorts east of Lausanne - Les Diablerets, Leysin and Villars-sur-Ollon.

    Winter YOG Athlete Ambassadors

    As has been an integral element of previous YOGs, athlete ambassadors will once again be present at venues, ceremonies and around the village to mentor and enrich the overall experience of the young athletes.

    Currently, there are 14 Lausanne 2020 athlete ambassadors, including French Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Cristobal Huet, Swiss ski cross star Fanny Smith and French Nordic combined Olympic champion Jason Lamy-Chappuis.

    “The goal of Lausanne 2020 is to reveal talent, create synergies, involve thousands of young people and put together a true celebration,” Faivre said.

    “To reach this objective, and in order to promote the Olympic spirit throughout Switzerland and neighboring France, Lausanne 2020 has surrounded itself with ambassadors – high-level athletes who hold and endorse its values, and who inspire the next generation of athletes.

    “Ambassadors are regularly invited to share their experiences as athletes through various initiatives related to youth engagement and the promotion of sport.”

    Written by Brian Pinelli

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